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Old Scores by Will Thomas
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This is a bit Sherlock Holmes-y taking place in London 1890. Point of view is from Thomas Llewelyn's perception being the Watson in this series. Cyrus Barker is the investigative genius that seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and is repetitively getting arrested. This is an okay stand alone with only certain characters involved probably given more depth in prior installments of this series. The murder, clues, and blood hound trail is riveting as is the Barker revelation into his tragic history. The murdered victim was a Japanese Ambassador who is traveling with that country's delegation. The many individuals that made up this foreign troop just seemed complicated for me to keep track of and so bogged down the story for me. A positive was the drama between Barker and Thomas that was at times comical. "A copy of this book was provided by St. Martin's Press via NetGalley with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read and my comments here are my honest opinion." ( )
  marandajo | Oct 3, 2017 |
Will Thomas's historical mystery series is one that I've been following with pleasure since the very first book, Some Danger Involved. My pleasure is mainly due to the voice of Thomas Llewelyn, who begins as a complete novice to the private enquiry business and gradually becomes quite skilled, thanks to the tutelage of Cyrus Barker. Barker has always been a rather shadowy character, and tiny bits and pieces of his past have to be wrenched out of him, so it was good to see more information was forthcoming in Old Scores.

Thomas knows how to construct a plot that keeps readers guessing, and his action scenes keep the pace moving right along. I always feel as though I'm walking the streets of the seamier parts of London when I read a Barker and Llewelyn mystery, but I know I'm in safe hands with these two men. If you like strong mysteries that take place in Victorian London, I think you'll find Thomas's series a perfect fit. ( )
  cathyskye | Oct 3, 2017 |
I really enjoyed that this book was titled Old Scores as it was indeed a book about settling old scores. Cyrus Barker was an enigma of a man and in this installment readers will learn more about Cyrus’s history and how his past and present collide in a drastic way. In addition, there is also a nice mystery, character growth, a little bit of romance, and a surprise ending to keep you entertained.

This series, Barker & Llewelyn, is set in Victorian London during the late eighteen-hundreds. Barker and Llewelyn have been tasked with finding the criminal responsible for murdering visiting Japanese Ambassador Toda Ichigo. They must step cautiously though because at the same time Barker himself was the man that fingers of suspicion were pointing to. Barker has to do everything by the book in order to cast the suspicion from himself. Which leaves Thomas and others to take up the majority of the investigating.

I enjoyed that Thomas had to take more of an investigative role in this story. He had to rely more on himself and less on Barker while at the same time he was actually in a position to be the one who helped Barker out of a few tight spots. Another portion of this story that I really enjoyed was the unconventional romance between Thomas and Rebecca. I really enjoyed Rebecca’s character a lot and the relationship that develops between her and Fu Ying is quite cute.

In addition to the mystery of who killed the Japanese Ambassador there was also the caveat of how tightly this mystery was entwined with Barker’s past. It gave a very powerful emotional piece to the overall story and by the end, left Barker in a position where he did not really know where to go next with it all. Old Scores is one of those mystery novels that have an intricate mystery that is woven in such a way that you just can’t put the book down until the bitter end. It was a fantastic read!

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating. ( )
  TheGenreMinx | Sep 29, 2017 |
Can I start with how much I love these covers? Each is a work of art with shadowy figures, unmistakably Victorian, shrouded in foggy gaslight. The tone is set. You know you’re in for a clever, atmospheric mystery full of colourful characters.

It’s 1890 & at the home of Cyrus Barker, staff are getting ready for a very special visit. Barker is hosting a Japanese delegation who are in London to open an embassy. The ambassador is a soft spoken, gentle man who appreciates Barker’s garden. However, the ministers & body guards who accompany him seem less than impressed.

Thomas Llewelyn has been working with Barker for several years now & beneath the polite conversation, he picks up an odd tension. Something is very wrong. His spidey-senses prove correct when later that night the ambassador is shot & Barker arrested in possession of a fired pistol.

It’s a PR disaster for the Foreign Office & Trelawny Campbell-Ffinch (who’s as pretentious as his name) is determined to convict Barker as quickly as possible. But the canny detective has a few friends in useful places. He’s soon back in his office where he gets an interesting offer. General Mononobe, one of the delegates, wants him to find the ambassador’s killer.

What follows is a ripping story full of secrets, riddles, hidden identities & dirty politics. And danger of course, usually at the expense of long suffering Thomas. The clash of cultures presents a unique challenge. But Barker is up to the task of deciphering the enigmatic Japanese contingent. Faithful fans know he spent time there before settling in London & for the first time, we get some glimpses of his mysterious past.

Thomas’ personal life is slowly moving forward as he continues to spend time with widow Rebecca Cowan & she plays a much larger role in this outing as she begins to meet the people that make up his adopted family. The gang is all back including Harm, a judgemental Pekingese who is the true master of the house. Each of these characters is so well rendered with distinct personalities & colourful backgrounds. They’re a ragtag bunch that act like siblings. Sometimes they fight but they always have each others’ backs.

This is book #9 & as with all series, readers have their favourites. To be honest, I didn’t love the last one but I think it was more about setting than story. So I’m thrilled to report this one finds Barker & Llewelyn in top form & right where they belong….in the middle of a clever, intricate mystery. Highly recommend this series, starting with “Some Danger Involved”. ( )
  RowingRabbit | Aug 6, 2017 |
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"In 1890, the first Japanese diplomatic delegation arrives in London to open an embassy. Cyrus Barker, private enquiry agent and occasional agent for the Foreign Service Office, is enlisted to display his personal Japanese garden to the visiting dignitaries. Later that night, Ambassador Toda is shot and killed in his office and Cyrus Barker is discovered across the street, watching the very same office, in possession of a revolver with one spent cartridge. Arrested by the Special Branch for the crime, Barker is vigorously interrogated and finally released due to the intervention of his assistant, Thomas Llewelyn, and his solicitor. With the London constabulary still convinced of his guilt, Barker is hired by the new Japanese ambassador to find the real murderer. In a case that takes leads Barker and Llewelyn deep into parts of London's underworld, on paths that lead deep into Barker's own mysterious personal history, Old Scores is the finest yet in Will Thomas's critically acclaimed series"--… (more)

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